As one who has been intrigued by ruins and remnants of the past long before I read Christopher Woodward’s In Ruins, ages ago, I was interested in this blog posting about Seven Abandoned Cities, with its accompanying evocative images.
I’m not totally sure whether it’s the historical cataclysms that have left these places un-improved, the human stories and poems that they tell, the strange beauty in these fragments of lives or something else, but it’s something that has always interested me, and recurred often in my own writing. The past, the pastness of the past. Lives that were just as vibrant and intensely lived as now, but now which aren’t. The marble statues on Delos in the Greek Islands, the abandoned farm-house at the edge of the suburbs, the remains of the cement works at Fossil Beach, the rusted foundations in the rocks of an old pier, these things ring with meaning for me.
Reminded about again today about the intimate connection between poetry and art with Pat Pillai’s latest contribution;some images of ruin and poetry in the suburban margins part of the website. The connections between the art, and the thinking and the poems are obvious, and point again to the visual medium that is poetry. This week I’m going to the launch of a new exhibition of paintings by Graeme Drendell so no doubt the connections will be raised again.
Painting the Ruins by Pat Pillai
two new books added to my ever-growing wishlist this morning after reading some reviews
1 Dead Man’s Chest: Travels after Robert Louis Stevenson by Nicholas Rankin. I’ve always liked RLS, from reading books like ‘Kidnapped’ and especially ‘Treasure Island’ as a kid. Later I read a travel book called ‘Footsteps’ I think, which followed one of RLS’s journey’s with a donkey through Europe.
2. In Ruins by Christopher Woodward – If you’ve ever read any of my poems here you’ll know the fascination I have with ruins, the broken things of history, the aesthetics of the fallen. Auden used to like the ruins of tin mining; I can understand that!